Yankees reportedly interested in Cubs infielder in free agency

Chicago Cubs third baseman Jeimer Candelario, Yankees
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Cubs infielder Jeimer Candelario is the latest player linked to the New York Yankees with a highly anticipated free agent class set to hit the market this winter.

Candelario a Cost-Effective Option For the Yankees

Jim Bowden of The Athletic listed out the top 40 free agents that teams across the MLB will be actively pursuing, matching Candelario with the Yankees at a reasonable asking price of $15 million over two years.

Candelario signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Cubs before the start of the 2023 season, making it the most money he’s seen in his eight-year tenure in the league. It is expected that the 29-year-old will seek an even higher salary after almost approximating his 2021 career year.

Candelario saw 115 of his 144 appearances at third base in 2023 as a member of both the Washington Nationals and the Cubs. He committed nine total errors in the field and sported a 97.1 fielding percentage at third.

Candelario Would Solve a Significant Hole in Yankees’ Offense

At the plate, Candelario produced an up-to-snuff .251 batting average but supplemented that with a very sound .807 OPS. He was not very active in between bases with eight steals on the season. However, Candelario’s 39 doubles far and away exceed that of any Yankees player, with 2B Gleyber Torres having led New York with 28 on the year. Candelario has also led the league with 42 doubles back in 2021, so he is reliable in that department.

The Yankees are in need of hitters who can drive in runs in the middle of the order. With Candelario having been accustomed to hitting third and cleanup for the Nationals and seventh for the Cubs, his 70 RBIs in only 140 games played are more than serviceable.

New York may be looking to trade Torres and make shifts in the infield and second and third. Candelario’s efficiency and power is a rung below that of Torres but he offers a solid bat behind DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge at the top of the order.

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